Large celestite crystals in Crystal Cave, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Large celestite crystals in Crystal Cave, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Content by courtesy of: The Giant Crystal Project


In 1887 Mr. Gustav Heineman emigrated from Baden-Baden in Germany to Put-in-Bay, Ohio. In the following years he established a winery, which is still well-known for its high quality wines today. In 1897 he sank a well beneath his winery and discovered a large vug in 10 m depth. On exploring the cave he found, that much of the cave walls showed extremely large and well developed tabular crystals, which turned out to be strontium sulfate, i.e. almost pure celestite.

The original cave was much smaller than what is shown today, as much of the celestite crystals were mined for the manufacturing of fire-works. However, Mr. Heineman decided very early to stop the mining activities and turned the property into a tourist attraction called "Crystal Cave". This turned out to be an excellent idea, as the Heineman winery survived the times of prohibiton thanks to tourist guiding through their cave, while other wineries in the vicinity went into bankruptcy.

The Crystal Cave today is open to the public on a daily basis and still displays remarkably well developed, glistening tabular, white to slightly blue crystals of celestite up to 1 m size, whereas the overall size of the cave is about 10 m. They form extensive linings on the limestone walls of the cave. Apparently not much scientific work has been done on the celestite crystal and its formation is still fairly poorly understood. There are some limestone caves nearby, but all of these lack any significant celestite mineralization.

celestite crystal cave
Interior of the Crystal cave at Put-in-Bay, Ohio
Photo source : www.putinbayphotos.com

celestite crystal
Close up of the celestite crystal lining
Photo source : www.putinbayphotos.com

Crystal Cave Essentials :
Mineralogy :Celestite crystal linings in a limestone cave.
Crystal Size :Though the maximum size of the crystals is given with 18 inches (= 45,7 cm), it appears from the photos, that some of the celestite crystals may reach about 1 m size.
Geology & Origin :Limestone cave with secondary celestite filling of unknown origin, likely to be hydrothermal.
Current status :Family - run show cave, which is open to the public
Remarks :This somewhat neglected giant crystal locality deserved much more attention of the scientific community

Content by courtesy of: The Giant Crystal Project
The Giant Crystal Project


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